With the status of Vince Young’s left knee still uncertain, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher's Monday press conference mostly centered around the appearance that his quarterback was reluctant to re-enter Sunday’s win over Jacksonville with 5:57 to play.
The severity of Young’s injury was still not known as of Monday afternoon, but the Titans, according to Fisher, said it did not appear to be a season-ending injury. The MRI on Young's knee was rescheduled for Tuesday, according to the team.
“If it was season-ending, we would have known last night,” Fisher said.
In Sunday's game, Fisher could be seen in an animated fashion gesturing for Young to join the rest of the offense on the field, just moments after he moped about throwing his second interception of the game.
Fisher indicated again Monday that the discussion he had with Young regarded tightness in the quarterback’s hamstring, and not any perceived unwillingness to take the field after pouting on the sidelines.
“As I mentioned yesterday, there was an issue with the hamstring tightness, and there was miscommunication,” Fisher said. “There is all kinds of communication that takes place on the sideline. I saw Vince sitting on the bench with a towel on his head. Obviously, he wasn’t happy with the interception, but that was not part of the issue.
“The issue was just the communication between myself, and he and the trainers and coaches, regarding whether his hamstring was tightening up or not.”
Young did not bother to notify the team’s medical personnel while on the sideline that his hamstring was any sort of issue, but Fisher said players are not necessarily required to consult with the medical staff on the sideline in such situations.
“Oftentimes, I talk to players, and he didn’t have a pull,” Fisher said. “He wasn’t injured. He was tight, and so we communicate. Mike [Heimerdinger] communicates with him. We communicate with him. If you’ve got an injury where a player is down on the field, he is being treated by the medical staff, of course. But we talk to players all the time about, ‘How do you feel?’”
Fisher said he had been in constant communication with Young during the game regarding updates on the hamstring tightness, but was not aware that it had become a potential issue until the offense took the field without the starting quarterback.
“We had discussed it throughout the game. How are you feeling? That’s part of what you do,” Fisher said.
The coach reiterated that Young was not trying to remove himself from the game.
“He did not pull himself. Let me explain something, I put him on the injury report on Friday because he had a tight hamstring,” Fisher said. “There’s a significant difference between a tight hamstring and a pull. He had hamstring tightness, and the discussion was related to the tightness, not a pull. If he would have pulled, I assure you and everybody else would have seen him being administered and examined by doctors and trainers.”
Fisher blamed Young’s absence from the field and his not knowing about the tightness on a communication breakdown. While Young was on the sideline, backup Kerry Collins, who entered the game four plays later after Young’s knee injury, was frantically warming up as if to go in and play.
“We’ve got to communicate better. I probably need to do a better job talking to Mike,” Fisher said. “I’m on the other side when the defense is out there. I’ve got a lot of responsibility that goes beyond just checking on the specific condition of everybody. Not that that was not important. But he came back on the field and he made plays, and unfortunately, he got hurt.”
Young’s demeanor was also an issue again on Monday, and though Fisher said he was more concerned about the quarterback’s knee, he admitted Young needs to mature in that area.
“Yes, he definitely needs to work through some things. There’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said. “It’s not the first time he’s been frustrated or he’s shown frustration outwardly on the sideline. He tends to bounce back. He was not happy after the first interception, and he clearly should not have thrown that ball. He made that decision. He understood it. He processed it, and he came back two series later and led us on a touchdown drive. He deals with it.”
Center Kevin Mawae indicated that while teammates have confidence in Young, it is ultimately up to Young himself to correct any issues with his demeanor or his self-confidence.
“I think Vince knows he has the backing of every guy on this team and every guy in the huddle and on the offense,” Mawae said. “But at some point in time, it’s got to come to that single individual person to know that he’s got a job to do just like everybody else.”
While Kerry Collins would start while Young is out, the Titans must examine their options for a backup if Young is out for an extended period of time. Practice squad quarterback Ingle Martin could be promoted, or they could look at a veteran like Chris Simms, Tim Rattay or Daunte Culpepper, all of whom remain unsigned.
CONCUSSION: Fisher said Monday he was unaware of comments by Albert Haynesworth that the defensive tackle did not remember much from Sunday’s 17-10 victory over Jacksonville, including the final score.
“I was not aware of those comments, but if it is related to the concussion, we do a thorough examination on the sideline and we would never allow him to come back on the field unless he passed the examination and tests,” Fisher said. “We have all kinds of information, backup information and a testing protocol that we use, so we would never do that.”
Haynesworth sat out much of the first and part of the second quarter before returning. He had two sacks in the game.
NEW NICKNAME?: Linebacker Keith Bulluck said he is ready to take on Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, who now goes by the name Ocho Cinco after legally changing his name.
Bulluck even had a new moniker for Johnson/Ocho Cinco.
“I like Oucho Cinco, I think he’s great,” Bulluck said. “He’s Oucho right now with that shoulder brace on the sidelines and he was looking real dejected yesterday. Baltimore took it to those guys. We’ll just see how that shoulder is. Tell him to get his shoulder right.
“He’s going to be on camera all day on Sunday, his shoulder, I don’t expect to run too many shallow crosses. I’m putting it out there for him to bite it, and I know he will.”
MORE INJURIES: Fisher said the Titans were doing tests on Jacob Ford’s sternum to determine the extent of his injuries.
RECEIVERS TO VISIT: The Titans will host receivers Glenn Martinez, Chad Jackson and Reche Caldwell among others on Tuesday for tryouts. The Titans have been looking to potentially upgrade the position since the off-season.